Ginger Beef

CANADA

This Chinese-Canadian dish is bursting with ginger flavor and is the perfect weeknight meal

SUBMITTED BY

Maria

I love learning about food history and foods that were adapted to fit local palates, so when this submission for ginger beef came in for my “5 Surprising Uses for Ginger from Around the World,” I was so excited! Ginger beef is often associated purely with Chinese culture, but there is much more to this recipe than meets the eye. Plus, fried beef in a sweet and sour sauce never fails!

This ginger beef recipe comes from Maria in Calgary, Alberta in Canada. Made from ginger, sirloin beef, red chili, carrots, green peppers, corn starch, egg, and soy sauce, this dish holds a delicious combination of flavors. Once you batter and fry the beef strips, they are coated in a sweet, sour, sticky sauce and usually served with thinly sliced carrots and rice or noodles. Maria clarifies that although many people believe ginger beef is a Chinese food staple, it was invented by a Chinese-Canadian chef, George Wong, at the Silver Inn in Calgary in the 1970s. In doing so, he deliberately made Chinese food more popular among Canadians.

What is so genius about this creation is that Albertans are very proud of the beef they raise, so ginger beef marries the two cultures beautifully! However, when George Wong initially made this dish, there wasn’t actually any ginger in it; people simply called it ginger beef because they mistakenly thought ginger was in the sauce. Later on, people added it to their recipes, and it perfectly balances the flavors in ginger beef dishes today.

My ginger beef tasted and smelled like takeaway food, which made me feel so accomplished, seeing as I made it in the comforts of my own home! Although I was intimidated by frying the beef without a deep fryer, it turned out great; I would advise that you cut the beef into smaller pieces, as this makes it even crispier. I also did not double fry the beef because it seemed like a lot of oil, but I think if I had stuck to the frying instructions, my beef would have turned out even more delicious, so don’t let the oil scare you!

The ginger sauce is so robust, and it really rounds out this meal in a way only ginger can. Seeing Chinese-inspired flavors and Alberta’s favorite protein combine before my eyes perfectly exemplified the advantages of embracing other cultures and coming together to create something inspired. Give this classic ginger beef recipe a try, and let me know how you like it!

Watch the Video

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb flank or sirloin steak
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 medium carrots sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh ginger finely chopped or grated
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • crushed chili flakes to taste

Instructions
 

  • Slice steak across the grain into narrow strips.
  • Place cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Add water gradually while you are whisking. Beat eggs into cornstarch mixture. Toss in beef and stir to coat.
  • Pour 1 inch of oil into wok, heat to boiling hot, but not smoking. Add a quarter of the beef to the oil at a time. Separate with a fork and cook, stirring frequently, until crispy. Remove, drain on parchment and set aside. (This much can be done in advance.)
  • Put oil in wok. Add carrots, bell pepper, onion, ginger and garlic in that order. Stir briefly over high heat.
  • Combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and chili flakes. Add to vegetable mixture and bring to a boil.
  • Add beef, mix well. Serve over rice!

Notes

Recipe inspired by Food Network
Course: Dinner
Region: North America
Keyword: Weeknight-dinner

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